By Bill Petzold
LAS VEGAS — A former Cass City woman who confessed to strangling a longtime Caro resident was convicted Friday of second-degree murder.
Rosemary Vandecar, 54, stood trial last week in Clark County District Court for the Feb. 8 2010 murder of 69-year-old Roy Schutzler. In addition to a conviction of second-degree murder, under Nevada law Vandecar also will be sentenced with an enhancement of Murder of Older Person because her victim was older than 60, which likely will double her sentence. She is expected to be sentenced in August.
North Las Vegas homicide Detective Michael Bodnar was shocked by Vandecar’s mental state while interviewing her after the crime.
“I’ve been a homicide detective for 12 years and a police officer for even longer, and I have to say I’ve never seen anything like this,” Bodnar told the Advertiser in March 2010. “For a woman to commit this type of crime is unusual in itself, but after talking with her for six hours the day she was arrested, looking into her eyes … well, there’s something not right there.”
Bodnar said Monday that Vandecar’s demeanor in court was equally disturbing.
“It was actually worse,” he said. “She just had this really wicked look to her. I interviewed her after (the murder) for seven hours, where she eventually said that she had her hands around her neck choking him. To put your hands around somebody’s neck and then to squeeze until that person loses consciousness and ultimately dies … it takes a very wicked person.”
Schutzler worked as a counselor at Michigan Rehabilitation Services in Caro for about 20 years until his retirement in 2003. Rosemary Vandecar also was employed by Michigan Rehabilitation Services during that time as a case worker.
Schutzler and his wife, Sharon, moved to Cadillac after his retirement to be closer to their daughter and grandchildren. Sharon Schutzler, who had been battling cancer, died Aug. 31, 2007 at the couple’s home in Cadillac.
A family friend said that Roy Schutzler encountered Rosemary Vandecar during the summer of 2009 in Cadillac, and the two were reacquainted. Vandecar moved in with Schutzler during the fall of 2009 as his caregiver, and sometime in Dec. 2009 she and Schutzler moved to an apartment at 770 West Lone Mountain Road in North Las Vegas. Vandecar’s son Daniel Vandecar lived at the apartment with his mother and Schutzler at the time, but there was not sufficient evidence to charge him in the murder.
Bodnar said he expects Vandecar to serve at least 20 years and was pleased with the second-degree murder conviction.
“In my opinion, (the evidence) was overwhelming,” Bodnar said. “We’re excited about it.
“No matter what her sentence is, she’s a fairly old lady. When you’re doing time in prison, if she gets 20 years in prison, pretty much that’s going to be the rest of her life.”
UPDATE: Vandecar was sentenced Aug. 9 to life in prison with the possibility of parole plus a second consecutive term of 20 years in prison for Nevada’s victim over 60 age enhancement. According to the Nevada Department of Corrections website, Vandecar is incarcerated at the Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Center in Las Vegas.
Bill Petzold is a staff writer for the Tuscola County Advertiser. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.